Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music

August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music 1  “Es  ist  jene  sichere  Sparsamkeit,  die  mit  allen  Kräften  haushält, weil sie alle kennt, sie ernst nimmt und an ihren  Platz zu stellen weiss.” Journal of Music Theory  55:2, Fall 2011 DOI 10.1215/00222909-1540374  © 2012 by Yale University bore a disconcerting resemblance to the operations of state bureaucracies.  reworking  a  familiar  analogy  between  the  subjects  or  themes  of  musical  works and the protagonists of novels or dramas, he likened the realization of  a  fugue  subject’s  potential  to  an  individual’s  experience  of  subjectivity  as  enriched through relationships with “companions.” As a composer he sought  to demonstrate what can be learned from Bach in this respect if one makes  what roland Barthes ([1971] 1977, 263) was to describe as the “exceptional  critical  effort”  needed  to  “re-write”  rather  than  “consume”  a  work.  Halm  was confident that a comparison of his e minor Fugue for piano with Bach’s  B major Fugue in book 1 of Das wohl-temperierte Clavier would show that his  own treatment of the subject more fully realized the melodic progression’s  potential and achieved a “more natural distribution of weight” (VzK, 174).2 Halm  envisioned  a  “third  culture  of  music,”  adumbrated  in  the  first  movement of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony (VzK, 254), which would engender  hope in the possibility of harmony between the modern state and fully developed personalities, a possibility that Nietzsche had denied in the strongest  terms in Also sprach Zarathustra (1883–85) and in the fragments on state and  individual that were posthumously compiled and published in the collection  Der Wille zur Macht (1901, 349–73).3 Halm expressed the hope that in twenty  years the advent of “the full culture of music” would render his book superfluous (VzK, 55); his premature death in 1929 spared him the experience of  the Third reich. In his final book, Beethoven (1927), Halm no longer treated  Bruckner’s symphonies as pointing toward a third culture, judging them a  unique achievement that had not provided a basis for further development.  In arguing that the “state of exception” (Ausnahmezustand) imposed by Wagner’s music dramas had obstructed appreciation of the “prophetic” value of  Beethoven’s music, Halm (1927, 27–28, 37–38) alluded to the initial sentence  of Carl schmitt’s Politische Theologie (1922), which epitomized schmitt’s “decisionism”: “The sovereign is he who decides on the Ausnahmezustand.” Halm  now saw Beethoven as the herald of a “new epoch for art”—one that might  prove “permanent” and “fundamentally unhistorical,” sustained by new ways  of hearing and understanding, and a new subjectivity (Sichverstehen) among  listeners (1927, 13, 19). Acknowledging that this view might not be compatible  with “the concept of culture,” Halm hoped that the “new humanity” prefigured in Beethoven’s works might replace the “narrowness and exclusivity” of  cultures. Kulturen were to be aufgehoben (in Hegel’s sense, at once abolished  and preserved) in Humanität. 2  “Die  erwünschte  Fortführung  und  die  natürlichere  Gewichtsteilung.” 3  If,  following  Leo  Strauss  (1959,  54),  Nietzsche  “may  be  said  to  have  returned,  on  the  level  of  the  historical  c   onsciousness, from Hegel’s reconciliation to Rousseau’s  antinomy  [of  ‘the  genuine  individual’  and  ‘the  modern  state’],” Halm envisioned a reconciliation through music. reviews    Blum on Rothfarb One of the many merits of lee A. rothfarb’s masterful survey of Halm’s  “critical and creative life in music” is rothfarb’s attention to the sources and  resonances of Halm’s diction, starting with the biblical and theological language absorbed during his upbringing as the son of a pastor. To support his  argument  “that  Halm  identified  and  creatively  addressed  issues  in  music  analysis and composition that are as fresh today as they were in his time” (xii),  rothfarb  makes  a  valiant  effort  to  relate  the  vocabulary  and  interests  that  Halm shared with certain of his contemporaries to issues treated in theoretical work of the past few decades. This is no easy task, given Halm’s idiosyncratic  juxtaposition  of  “diverse  and  seemingly  incongruous  aspects  of  Formenlehre and ontology, formalist analysis and metaphorical representations,  and  indeed  of  politics,  theology  and  absolute  music”  (rehding  2001,  143).  Idiosyncratic as it may seem, Halm’s theorizing bears comparison with other  theoretical projects of his period, such as schmitt’s “political theology” and  Arnold schoenberg’s “aesthetic theology” (Dahlhaus 1986; Covach 1996). rothfarb’s monograph is well structured to bring out the complementarity of Halm’s multiple roles as educational reformer, cultural critic, composer,  and  http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

August Halm: A Critical and Creative Life in Music

Journal of Music Theory , Volume 55 (2) – Sep 21, 2011

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/august-halm-a-critical-and-creative-life-in-music-qIZYidZQc3
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-1540374
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1  “Es  ist  jene  sichere  Sparsamkeit,  die  mit  allen  Kräften  haushält, weil sie alle kennt, sie ernst nimmt und an ihren  Platz zu stellen weiss.” Journal of Music Theory  55:2, Fall 2011 DOI 10.1215/00222909-1540374  © 2012 by Yale University bore a disconcerting resemblance to the operations of state bureaucracies.  reworking  a  familiar  analogy  between  the  subjects  or  themes  of  musical  works and the protagonists of novels or dramas, he likened the realization of  a  fugue  subject’s  potential  to  an  individual’s  experience  of  subjectivity  as  enriched through relationships with “companions.” As a composer he sought  to demonstrate what can be learned from Bach in this respect if one makes  what roland Barthes ([1971] 1977, 263) was to describe as the “exceptional  critical  effort”  needed  to  “re-write”  rather  than  “consume”  a  work.  Halm  was confident that a comparison of his e minor Fugue for piano with Bach’s  B major Fugue in book 1 of Das wohl-temperierte Clavier would show that his  own treatment of the subject more fully realized the melodic progression’s  potential and achieved a “more natural distribution of weight” (VzK, 174).2 Halm  envisioned  a  “third  culture  of  music,”  adumbrated  in  the  first  movement of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony (VzK, 254), which would engender  hope in the possibility of harmony between the modern state and fully developed personalities, a possibility that Nietzsche had denied in the strongest  terms in Also sprach Zarathustra (1883–85) and in the fragments on state and  individual that were posthumously compiled and published in the collection  Der Wille zur Macht (1901, 349–73).3 Halm expressed the hope that in twenty  years the advent of “the full culture of music” would render his book superfluous (VzK, 55); his premature death in 1929 spared him the experience of  the Third reich. In his final book, Beethoven (1927), Halm no longer treated  Bruckner’s symphonies as pointing toward a third culture, judging them a  unique achievement that had not provided a basis for further development.  In arguing that the “state of exception” (Ausnahmezustand) imposed by Wagner’s music dramas had obstructed appreciation of the “prophetic” value of  Beethoven’s music, Halm (1927, 27–28, 37–38) alluded to the initial sentence  of Carl schmitt’s Politische Theologie (1922), which epitomized schmitt’s “decisionism”: “The sovereign is he who decides on the Ausnahmezustand.” Halm  now saw Beethoven as the herald of a “new epoch for art”—one that might  prove “permanent” and “fundamentally unhistorical,” sustained by new ways  of hearing and understanding, and a new subjectivity (Sichverstehen) among  listeners (1927, 13, 19). Acknowledging that this view might not be compatible  with “the concept of culture,” Halm hoped that the “new humanity” prefigured in Beethoven’s works might replace the “narrowness and exclusivity” of  cultures. Kulturen were to be aufgehoben (in Hegel’s sense, at once abolished  and preserved) in Humanität. 2  “Die  erwünschte  Fortführung  und  die  natürlichere  Gewichtsteilung.” 3  If,  following  Leo  Strauss  (1959,  54),  Nietzsche  “may  be  said  to  have  returned,  on  the  level  of  the  historical  c   onsciousness, from Hegel’s reconciliation to Rousseau’s  antinomy  [of  ‘the  genuine  individual’  and  ‘the  modern  state’],” Halm envisioned a reconciliation through music. reviews    Blum on Rothfarb One of the many merits of lee A. rothfarb’s masterful survey of Halm’s  “critical and creative life in music” is rothfarb’s attention to the sources and  resonances of Halm’s diction, starting with the biblical and theological language absorbed during his upbringing as the son of a pastor. To support his  argument  “that  Halm  identified  and  creatively  addressed  issues  in  music  analysis and composition that are as fresh today as they were in his time” (xii),  rothfarb  makes  a  valiant  effort  to  relate  the  vocabulary  and  interests  that  Halm shared with certain of his contemporaries to issues treated in theoretical work of the past few decades. This is no easy task, given Halm’s idiosyncratic  juxtaposition  of  “diverse  and  seemingly  incongruous  aspects  of  Formenlehre and ontology, formalist analysis and metaphorical representations,  and  indeed  of  politics,  theology  and  absolute  music”  (rehding  2001,  143).  Idiosyncratic as it may seem, Halm’s theorizing bears comparison with other  theoretical projects of his period, such as schmitt’s “political theology” and  Arnold schoenberg’s “aesthetic theology” (Dahlhaus 1986; Covach 1996). rothfarb’s monograph is well structured to bring out the complementarity of Halm’s multiple roles as educational reformer, cultural critic, composer,  and 

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Sep 21, 2011

There are no references for this article.